(Athens, Ga.) – It’s hard to deny the success the University of Georgia has had a running back throughout the programs history. From Charley Trippi to Kevin McLee to Hershel and on to the Kirby Smart era with Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Elijah Holyfield, the list just keeps growing. The 2019 edition of the Dawgs look to have a full stable as well with D’Andre Swift, Zamir White, James Cook and the incomparable senior Brian Herrien.
While Herrien’s stats don’t jump off the page, he is the epitome of what it means to be a Bulldog under Head Coach Kirby Smart, intelligent, athletic and physical. Smart’s connection to Herrien goes back before both men got to Athens. Herrien was a star at New Manchester High School in Douglasville, Georgia and Smart was on the Alabama staff and noticed Herrien first in a pick up basketball game. While Herrien was under the radar in the 2016 recruiting process, Smart was aware and in May 2016, Herrien passed some academic hurdles and became the last signee of Smart’s first recruiting class.
The late start didn’t seem to phase Herrien as only 100 days later, he suited up as a freshman against North Carolina in the Georgia Dome and scored a touchdown the first time he touched the ball, a 19-yard scamper to the pylon. He ended his freshman year Georgia’s #3 rusher behind a couple of NFL first round draft picks, Chubb and Michel.
Throughout his career, he has been available and ready, and has always produced. What makes him the poster-child for the Bulldogs is his mental toughness, he shows up and does his work. Over the past four years, the Bulldog roster has become full of those, but for players recruited by Smart, Herrien was the first.
As he heads into his senior year, Herrien has the most experience in the running back group. While Swift will get most of the attention and White will make a first-year splash, Herrien will be there, steady as ever and make big plays in the big opportunities.
And don’t count him out for playing on Sundays in the future. A young man who has persevered and competed at his level is never to be overlooked. As he said after the disappointing loss to Texas in last year’s Sugar Bowl,
“I know what my abilities are and the talent I have. Wherever I go, I know I’m good.”Herrien after Georgia’s disappointing loss to Texas in the Sugar Bowl.
The sky is the limit for Herrien, look for him to star in this Saturday’s spring game and get into action early against Vanderbilt in Georgia’s opener on August 31, 2019. Great things happen to those who believe deeply in themselves.
I have covered local, college and professional sports for 12 Local and Regional Newspapers over the past four years. A lifelong Georgia Bulldog fan (I attended my first game in 1978 when I saw the Dawgs beat Baylor), I love to find the compelling story lines that make the game so great.